“This mindfulness program changed the fabric of our school. It gifted students who could not regulate their behavior a valuable tool to calm their brains and gain control over their actions.” – Kathy Goecke, principal of participating school
In an effort to create lasting, transformational change for children, Mind Oasis and Unscripted Heart, LLC have established a partnership to bring Mindfulness in Schools Initiative (MSI) to ten elementary schools in 2022. Mindfulness practices have been scientifically proven to reduce stress (1). Unscripted Heart has implemented school-wide mindfulness trainings in five schools to date.
Toxic stress in the classroom is a public health crisis affecting teachers and students (2). Ongoing stress in children can negatively impact brain development, leading to lifelong health problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a national emergency in children’s mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, between March and October 2020, ER visits for mental health emergencies rose by 24% in children ages 5-11. Further, teacher burnout is creating staff shortages in the public school system.
To date, we have strong anecdotal evidence that the mindfulness practices we are offering will create lasting change in students’ well-being. After six weeks of mindfulness practices, one child wrote, “I feel like when I’m mad I can calm down easily instead of snapping.” Teachers report students demonstrating an increased ability to regulate emotions, improved social-emotional skills, and a reduction in toxic stress.
Preliminary evidence shows that these programs also have the ability to close the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students. Engaging research partners will allow us to move from anecdotal to evidence-based results.